Busted with 44 pounds of cocaine at Midway Airport, men are sentenced to 12 years each

CHICAGO — Two men who were allegedly caught carrying 44 pounds of cocaine in their luggage at Midway Airport have each been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Neither man has any criminal background, according to Cook County prosecutors.

Robert Lewis, 25, and Jamire Hollingshed, 27, each pleaded guilty to possession of over 900 grams of cocaine, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped the trafficking and manufacture-delivery charges each man faced.

Prosecutors initially charged the men with manufacture-delivery of more than 900 grams of fentanyl, but prosecutors pursued cocaine charges at the grand jury stage, according to court records.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration learned last April that Hollingshed and Lewis may have been carrying narcotics as they flew together from Los Angeles to Midway, officials said. Investigators confirmed that the men made the trip and determined they would fly the same route a couple of weeks later.

Jamire Hollingshed, left, and Robert Lewis were arrested at Midway Airport’s baggage claim area. (Chicago Police Department; COPA)

After their flight landed around 6 p.m. on May 2, 2023, officers assigned to a DEA task force took their checked bags to a controlled area where a canine indicated narcotics were present in both suitcases, prosecutors said. Other officers intercepted Lewis and Hollingshed at baggage claim.

Both men had checked one suitcase, each of which contained ten one-kilogram bricks of narcotics wrapped in green plastic. Officials said the men stuffed the bricks into pant legs and inside sweatshirts.

After finding the contraband, investigators took the men to a security area, where both men denied knowing each other, denied that the bags were theirs, and denied knowing about the narcotics.

Hollingshed allegedly told police that someone paid him to bring the suitcase to Chicago, but he didn’t know who gave it to him. Prosecutors said he also didn’t know who was paying him to deliver the luggage or who he was supposed to give it to in Chicago.

Police allegedly found flight itineraries for both men on Hollingshed’s phone and a receipt for green plastic wrap.

Judge Angela Munari-Petrone oversaw the case and handed down the sentences. With the state’s 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, they are expected to be paroled in late 2028.

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